d&d is kool

Vice magazine has an insightful article artist/GM Zak Smith on the dogged persistence of RPGs. Let’s start:

“Dungeons & Dragons is some of the most crazy, deep, deep, deep nerd shit ever invented.”

-Ice T

Smith elaborates:

But beyond all that, the reasons that D&D is still worth playing are the people you play it with. As opposed to online RPGs where players interact through screens or headphones, when you sit down for a game of Dungeons & Dragons you do it with your people. In the same room. With snacks. Without the rest of the bar watching. There’s a story about three witches and a pack mule, which you all not only watched but invented, and then the witch threw a Dorito at you and drank your scotch.

My games are alcohol free, but I digress:

You learn things about your friends during these times, too. Who are these people when the stakes are low and wagers are little and no one is cool? Poker night gives you permission to get into your friends’ wallet; D&D night gives you permission to get into their heads. Sometimes it’s no surprise: Patton Oswalt played a drunken dwarf, Marilyn Manson says he was a dark elf, VICE international atrocity expert Molly Crabappleplayed a thief—but would you have pegged our porn correspondent, Stoya, for a druid with a dog named George? It’s important to know when there are hippies in your house.


The game is meant to reflect the people playing. D&D came out of the mimeographed, amateur-press wargame scene and reached the height of its popularity in the mid-80s, when zines had staples in them, Metallica didn’t suck, and computers had not yet quite eaten the world—and it still carries a heavy debt to the handmade and the DIY. Every rule in the game has been crossed out and rewritten thousands of times by thousands of pencils in thousands of ways by thousands of Brads, Steves, and Marcys for tens of thousands of tables who wanted to do it this way instead of that way, and none of them needed to learn code to do it.

Yes! People coming together and making an absorbing world with each other. Read the whole thing.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street


Written by fabiorojas

August 21, 2015 at 12:01 am

2 Responses

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  1. A group of six boys including my son spent every Friday night together from middle school through high school together playing D&D. They were organized in middle school around another RPG (I forget its name) by one set of parents who had thought a gaming group had been great for their older son; these parents supervised and participated with the kids. In high school the group moved to my house. I have never seen a MORE constructive way for a group of adolescent boys to spend their time! They talked to each other, they socialized, they painted figurines, the used their imaginations, they had fun, a nerdy kind of fun that was great for smart kids, and I knew where they were: they were not out engaging in substance abuse or vandalism or crashing cars. One of the boys (the son of the group’s founders) was killed in an auto crash after college graduation; the others have dispersed geographically but have stayed in touch in the ten years since they left high school.

    Liked by 1 person


    August 21, 2015 at 2:55 am

  2. That is wonderful. I tell the people in my games: “They who sit at the table are always friends.”

    Also, my father, a high school teacher, thought D&D was amazing because it actually encouraged literacy and even some basic math skills.



    August 21, 2015 at 2:58 am

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